December 4, 2015
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these fun thematic Spurts from the last few weeks, readers! The first two are related to music; the second pair are about culture.
Two weeks ago as we drove to the kids’ Friday art class, we listened to Ed Sheeran’s “Wait for Me to Come Home” on the radio. In the final paragraph just before it ends, he sings about being kissed under a lamppost on Sixth Street. The song ended and the next one started, but clearly Seven’s mind was still on the song.
“Mamma, turn around” she called from the back seat.
“What?” I said, confused.
“Turn around; go to Sixth Street. I want to see where he’s standing next to the lamppost.”
“There is no Sixth Street,” I said, teasing her.
“I saw Fourth Street back there,” Nine said.
“Oh, okay,” Seven said, still in the midst of playing pretend. “Let’s go.”
“That’s in a different direction, and we have to go to art class,” I said.
Ed Sheeran, please let us know, did you ever make it back to Sixth Street to kiss the girl under the lamppost?
On the way home from art about an hour later, the radio played again. The radio jockey announced that the next song would be a Justin Bieber number.
“Wow, I didn’t know he was this good,” I heard my younger daughter murmur. “Mamma, can you turn the volume up?”
I obliged, knowing what would come next.
“He’s handsome,” Seven said, continuing her running commentary.
“How do you know?” Nine asked.
“We have a book about him at school, and I saw him on the cover,” Seven said.
“He’s Canadian,” I told her.
“I heard he did a bunch of bad things,” Nine announced from the back of the van.
“What did he do?” Seven asked.
“I don’t know,” Nine said. “I just heard it was a bunch of bad things.”
“Well, he’s handsome,” Seven said.
Three weeks ago I sat in on Seven’s cello lesson, as I do every week. She and her teacher occupy the middle of the large room, and I sit in this comfortable padded chair in the corner covered in a cheerful green fabric. I always take my computer with me and write either stories or blog posts while Seven and her teacher work.
I take a break time to time and glance up from my screen. During one of these little breaks, Seven turned to me. Her teacher had bent his head over her assignment book making notes for her to work on during the week. Seven slowly lifted her pinky finger.
Anyone from South Asia knows the raised pinky finger as a universal sign for needing to pee. We’d explained what it meant to the kids when they saw it in a movie, but never had either of them used it before. Now, though, in a position where she didn’t want to verbalize her thoughts, Seven used something totally un-American to convey her message to me.
I whispered that she could just tell her teacher that she had to go to the bathroom, so that’s what she did. He excused her right away, and as I followed her down the hall I had to smile.
With the festival of Diwali this November came a plethora of parties to attend. Nine, my girly girl, got really excited earlier in the year when her grandmother brought back several ethnic outfits for her from India. Parties meant plenty of opportunities to dress up.
Two weeks ago I was helping her get dressed for the last party we would attend for this festival season and Nine grinned at her outfit, which was a lehenga. The outfit consists of a blouse and skirt that almost always share a pattern and are embellished with beads, sequins, mirrors, and a myriad of other decorations. A long scarf, called a dupatta or chunni, ties the whole outfit together in contrasting colors.
“I love wearing lehengas,” Nine said, carefully working the drawstring at her hip to secure the skirt.
“Really?” I said.
“Yup. I feel like a princess. An Indian princess.”
Indian parents often worry about culture, about it meaning something to their kids, about it flowing into their children to the correct level and depth. In moments like these, I know that our culture has, in fact, seeped into our children and does mean something to them. It’s fun and exciting to see.